Sunday, March 26, 2017
In England, Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent and, as it has its origins in Christianity, is not really related to the American Mother's Day, which is celebrated in May (other than honouring mothers, that is). Of course, I am partial to the English Mother's Day because I am English. But also because it signals that the end of my Lenten fast is now only three weeks away. All things chocolate be warned. But, I digress.
Happy Mothering Sunday to all (English) mothers.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
I had a great day, thanks to Vinomaker. A wine tasting at Reynolds Family Winery (interesting), lunch at The Oxbow (duck taco, followed by a passion fruit cupcake) and dinner at Eiko's (lots of sushi, yum).
At dinner, I took advantage of Eiko's Wine Wednesday wine list and enjoyed a very refreshing glass of Albariño; a 2014 Calavera Wines, Dragone Vineyard (Calaveras County AVA). And a few sips of some other good stuff. A very agreeable day.
Oh...and Happy Birthday John Toshack.
Vinogirl loves birthdays.
Monday, March 20, 2017
At breakfast this morning, as I sleepily gazed out of the window, I thought I noticed a little fuzz of green in the Syrah vines. Sure enough, this evening, upon closer inspection, in the rain, with V2 in tow (who had the expectation of going for a walk when I got home from TWWIAGE, not looking at some upright twigs in a downpour), I can confirm that budbreak is happening in the Syrah. I am happy that the vines are having a great start to growing-season 2017, but they do look a little forlorn and soggy.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Meanwhile, one week later, the Orange Muscat vines seem to be growing before my very eyes. The baby shoots have lengthened about 3 inches in the past six days. The nascent inflorescence are now clearly visible. I love this time of year, but I'm just a bit tired to enjoy it right now.
Friday, March 17, 2017
In addition, Vinodog 2 also wanted to share with you all one of her favourite Irish sayings, "May the cat eat you and may the devil eat the cat." Whatever the bejesus that means!
Diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly...
Thursday, March 16, 2017
The weather started to cool down Wednesday and it was forecast to rain last night, but it didn't, so I got a good day of pruning the Cabernet Sauvignon vines in. I had set myself the goal of finishing pruning everything by this Sunday, the 19th of March. Even though I have to work at TWWIAGE tomorrow, I think I am still on target. Fingers crossed.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
I usually pick up the post on my way back from my afternoon promenade with V2, but there is never anything very exciting in Vinoland's mail receptacle, (the good stuff goes to our P.O. box in Napa). Imagine my surprise when I discovered a cheery, yellow bubble-wrap envelope, that jangled when I picked it up, in the usually junk-filled box. What could it be? I was intrigued and could not walk quickly enough back to the house to open it. Well, inside the package was an adorable set of grape and wine themed measuring spoons with a simple little note that said, "Happy baking!" Thanks, sis, I'll get right on that.
Funny, but I had made a mental note to myself only that morning that I needed to get a new set of measuring spoons, as, for years now, I have been using an old set belonging to Vinomaker. How could my sister have known? A case of sibling telepathy? Or just a happy coincidence? No matter, I just love them.
It just occurred to me that my new measuring spoons almost match my spoon ring and bracelet - how perfect. In fact, I think the measuring spoons are so cute, I may just wear them. But not before I have actually measured something with them. Thanks again, La Serenissima.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Of course, the grapevines don't care if I have internet access or not. Then again, perhaps they do: I had 50 extra hours with nothing better to do than prune and preen the little miscreants.
Thursday, March 09, 2017
My favourite of the assemblage was a Plumpjack Winery, 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. With 5% Petit Verdot thrown into the blend, this Cabernet was complex and layered. Surprisingly, a dizzying 15.6% alcohol content - winemaker Aaron Miller told me the fruit hung a little long that year - was not a problem. This wine is so balanced, fruit forward (lots of cherry - red and black), well integrated oak and with a palate-pleasing acidity, that there was no telltale burn from the high alcohol. Just loved it.
On the home front, today I started pruning for the 2017 vintage of Vinoland's Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon. Tee, hee!
Sunday, March 05, 2017
Beginning with my morning perambulation with V2 (when we both had to run and take cover to avoid being peppered with hail), I was interrupted, about every six vines, by another heavy salvo. The hailstones were very tiny, but plentiful. It was also very chilly, so the hailstones lingered in small drifts against walls, fences and tree trunks. And cupped in the leaves of weeds that grow in rosettes, e.g., dandelion, catsear, bristly oxtongue and this whitestem filaree (Erodium moschatum). Brrr.
I didn't have a lot of fun as I worked, but I did eventually finish the Syrah, yay! Now, on to the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Friday, March 03, 2017
Meanwhile, I am frantically pruning the Syrah vines. With rain forecast for the next two days, it means I will be pruning the vines with my waterproofs on. Prune hardy!
Thursday, March 02, 2017
I wanted to celebrate some of my personal favourite wine books which, over the years, I have read again and again. There is a handful of wine books that I continually return to and use as reference books. (My list of books dedicated to the topic of viticulture is actually bigger.) And some I just read for fun.
A special mention, once more, has to be given to the book Wine by Hugh Johnson. That particular book, a gift when I was 17 years old (thank you, Thud), started my interest in all things wine. And eventually viticulture. Wine is definitely one of my favourite books of all time, written by my favourite wine writer. Thanks, Hugh.
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Vinodog 2 is posing with fake daffodils. Why, might one ask? Well, as usual, the daffodils are nearly finished blooming in our little corner of California, and when they were nice and fresh the rain and wind battered them to the ground. It was very upsetting to me. Have I mentioned that I really don't like rain? I think I have. So, fake daffodils it is for this 2017 St. David's Day.
I hope everyone who is of Welsh extraction takes a little time today to celebrate their patron saint.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Vinodog 2 and I had a lovely walk after I got home from work, enjoying the rich hues that the setting sun cast over Mt. George and the eastern hills. Then it was home for dinner, and pancakes, yum!
Saturday, February 25, 2017
First stop was Cakebread Cellars. This winery is very brown, wood everywhere (I'd paint it all white), so I really didn't like the facility. And I can't say I particularly liked any of the wines I tasted either. Some light relief was provided, albeit unintentionally, by our host, a man we nicknamed The International Man of Mystery, who regaled us with tales of the many hats he had worn throughout his life. This gentleman had had so many dissimilar occupations (e.g., selling Picassos and Gauguins), in many different parts of the world, that he'd have to be about 150 years old to have fit everything in. Or had performed every job for, oh, let's say, about 39 seconds each.
Next, we headed over to Goosecross Cellars (GC). I visited GC (now owned by a Coors Brewing Company heiress) last March, so I think I'd already tasted most of the current releases. A member of our group had once worked at GC, so the wine-tasting devolved into more of a reunion. In truth, there wasn't a lot of focus on the wines, if any, which was a shame.
Lunch was at Bottega, in Yountville, and was delicious as usual (I had a fabulous duck ravioli). Chef Michael Chiarello, being in residence that day, came over to say a quick hello. Celebrity chefs: a modern day phenomenon, sigh.
Last stop of the day was at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (SLWC). Made famous by Warren Winiarski (and the Judgement of Paris), but now under the ownership of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchesi Antinori, the newish visitors centre at SLWC is absolutely stunning. And absolutely overwhelming. (I could have done without the lecture on Copernicus.) However, of all the wines I had tasted today, I liked the wines here best, especially a rather tasty 2010 Cask 23 (at once both smooth and intense). I was delighted to discover that SLWC produce a dry Sémillon, a varietal that can be difficult to do well. The Rancho Chimiles, 2015 Sémillon (Napa Valley AVA), was quite appealing, so I bought a few bottles.
All in all, it was a fun day. If there were any awkward silences - at lunch, or driving to and from wineries - someone would recall an interesting factoid about our Cakebread Man of Mystery and we'd all have a good laugh. The rain was persistent.